Wasps say farewell to Nizaam Carr
As Aviva Premiership interim signings go, few can surely have delivered quite such an immediate and significant impact as that made by Nizaam Carr during his spell with Wasps.
The Stormers No.8 returns to Cape Town to prepare for the new Super Rugby season following Ulster’s European Champions Cup visit to the Ricoh Arena on Sunday.
And he does so with a galaxy of new English-based fans, who have been quick to recognise the contribution his pace, power and workrate has made during his three-month sojourn with the black-and-golds.
The 26-year-old back-rower has started eight of his club’s ten matches since arriving in Coventry, in addition to appearing from the bench in the home games against Newcastle and La Rochelle.
And since announcing himself with a first-half Anglo-Welsh Cup try against the Ospreys, Carr has crossed the whitewash on three further occasions, including a spectacular long-distance effort at Harlequins last Saturday.
Director of rugby Dai Young pronounced himself more-than-satisfied with the Springbok international’s contribution since he arrived at the Ricoh Arena as cover for the injured Sam Jones and Alex Rieder, plus autumn international-bound Nathan Hughes.
“Nizaam's been outstanding,” Young said. “He had Nathan Hughes' big shoes to fill and he's done an admirable job in that.
“He's shown what his strengths are. He reads the game really well, carries really strongly, is a great link player and stands out defensively.
“He’s really fitted into the way we want to play and done a great job for us. Hopefully we can get a win to see him off, because he deserves one.”
Since arriving at Wasps, Carr has become the first Muslim to appear in English rugby’s top flight, after previously being the first follower of Islam to win a South Africa cap.
And it is no surprise to discover that in multi-cultural Coventry, integrating their interim signing’s lifestyle into a professional sports club has caused barely a ripple.
“It's been seamless to be honest,” Wasps’ boss said. “He's got on with his own thing and it hasn't phased the players, as they totally respect his beliefs.
“He's fitted into everything that we want him to do, so we haven't really had to make special plans for him. Abbi the chef has done something a little different for him, we'd do that for anyone wanting something different, but it really hasn't been an issue.”
Carr’s rugby odyssey takes him next back to Cape Town, after which things are less clear. However, according to Wasps’ rugby director, a return to Coventry at some point in the future is not totally out of the question.
“Nizaam is contracted to Super Rugby and he's got to weigh up what his options are after that,” Young said.
“He has to think about whether he stays in South Africa to compete for international honours or not, but we're in the mix and we'd certainly love to have him back if the chance arose.”
Make sure you're at the Ricoh Arena for Nizaam's final game as Wasps take on Ulster Rugby in the European Champions Cup on Sunday 21st January (3:15pm KO).
Tickets are still available for this crunch clash, priced from just £24 for adults while under 10s go FREE in many areas of the stadium.
To secure your tickets, visit wasp.co.uk/tickets or call the Ricoh Arena Ticket Office on 02476 786411.